HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Social Support, Help-Seeking, and Mental Health Outcomes Among Veterans in Non-VA Facilities: Results from the Veterans’ Health Study

Article

This article examines social and psychological resources to better understand mental health outcomes among veterans and concludes that high levels of help-seeking support since deployment among veterans was associated with a higher prevalence of mental health problems.

Abstract

Using a stress process model, the authors examined social and psychological resources to better understand mental health outcomes among veterans. For this study, we surveyed 700 U.S. veterans who were outpatients in the Geisinger Health System. Independent variables included demographic factors, stressful and traumatic events, social support measures, and psychosocial factors. Using logistic regression, the authors examined 4 types of social connections: social support, help-seeking support, social capital, and other mental health support to predict mental health outcomes, including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, suicide ideation, alcohol misuse, mental health service use, and Veterans Affairs service use. Results suggested that help-seeking support since deployment was a risk factor for 5 adverse outcomes, whereas social support was protective for 1 outcome. We concluded that high levels of help-seeking support since deployment among veterans was associated with a higher prevalence of mental health problems. These findings were unexpected and suggest the need for additional social support-related research among veterans.

Full Reference

Adams, R.E., Urosevick. T.G., Hoffman, S.N., Kirchner, H.L., Hyacinthe, J., 2017. Social Support, Help-Seeking, and Mental Health Outcomes Among Veterans in Non-VA Facilities: Results from the Veterans' Health Study. Mental Behavioral Health, 5(4), pp393-405.